Crawls under your skin, burrowing into the darkest corners of your mind.

Tales of the Damned #3

Writer : John Farman

Artist : Anna Francesca Schiraldi

Pg 008

Tales of the Damned is a supplementary series to The School of the Damned, offering more of a fantasy slant to complement the Gothic horror of its parent title. This issue, the middle section of the three-part Lore, sees monster hunter Julia Bronte stalking her prey in the untamed wilds of Romania, where a tale of another entity is brought up.

From its inception, the universe of the Damned has been a showcase of characters from classic horror, but until now one of the core monsters has been notable by its absence: the Mummy. The origin story of this particular take on the infamous Egyptian revenant will seem familiar to anyone who has seen any film in which the creature features, but is told with such brutal efficiency its impact is made regardless of how acquainted you are with its details and also continues the theme of the Damned’s most monstrous characters being the ones who are very much human. Despite all the death and suffering very little is actually shown, and like the best horror movies, it’s what you don’t see that crawls under your skin, burrowing into the darkened corners of your imagination in its conjuring of the implied body horror.

The artwork of Anna Francesca Schiraldi is a welcome addition to the series, and whether depicting the wide halls of an ancient Egyptian palace or the claustrophobic confines of a Romanian forest, the dark beauty of her art perfectly complements the sinister tale. The contrast of light and shadow thrusts every detail into stark relief, demanding you pour over each line before moving on to the next panel.

While the creatures of the classics are inhabitants of man-made structures and settlements, through the allies Julia has collected there are revealed to be societies of humanoid animals whose realm is the forest and the wilderness where human advancement is yet to encroach, while eternal powers are beginning to take notice of the upstart race threatening their endurance. It’s a little bewildering as you attempt to ascertain exactly who and what everyone is, but the additions swiftly swell the ever-increasing scope of this realm of mystery and monsters into which each subsequent entry draws you even further.